In the Southwest
Region of the NCAA Tournament, #3 Purdue Boilermakers (25-7.14-4) face #14 St.
Peter's Peacocks (20-13, 11-7) on March 18th at 7:20pm est in Chicago,
In their last
matchup, the Purdue Boilermakers
were defeated by the Michigan State Spartans in the
quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, 74-56. Purdue came in as the big
favorite but the Spartans prevailed, enabling them to get into the NCAA
Tournament. Michigan State got out to a 14 point 1st half lead and never looked
back. Leading Purdue was JaJuan Johnson with 21 points and 9 rebounds. E'Twaun
Moore chipped in with 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Now, it's onward to
the big dance for the Boilermakers.
In the Saint Peter's Peacocks
last game, they defeated the Iona Gaels 62-57 to win the MAAC
Conference title and their first NCAA Tournament
berth in 16 years. They upset the number
1 and 2 teams in the conference in surprising fashion. Leading St Peter's was
forward Jeron Belin with 17 points and Nick Leon added 15. It wasn't an
overwhelming performance but it was enough to get the job done.
In this matchup, Purdue is a decisive favorite. They play in a tougher
conference and St. Peter's had to run the table to get to this game.
Struting Like a Peacock
Lately senior forward Jeron Belin has been playing better than expected. Belin
has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games and has averaged 14.8
points and 6 rebounds in his last 6 games. This is an increase from his
seasonal average of 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Belin will need to
have a good game because Purdue outscores St. Peter's by 11.3 points per game.
Saving Their Bacon
Forward Ryan Bacon help's St. Peter's in a variety of ways. He leads the team
in rebounds (7.5) , blocks (2.1), and is the only player to shoot over 50% on
the Peacocks roster at 53.2%. Bacon also manages to contribute a solid 10
points per game on a team that averages just 61.4 points per game.
Defense Is the Only Remedy
St. Peter's team is based around defense. When the top 3 scorers on your team
shoot 38.6 % from the field or less, you need to find another alternative to
win. The Peacocks give up 59.9 points per game which ranks 12th in the nation,
they allow just 37.4% from the field which is good enough for 3rd in the
nation, and they also allow just 30.5% shooting from 3 point range. This ranks
17th in the country. Defense is the only opportunity that St. Peter's has but
remember, the level of competition that they play is inferior to the level of
competition that Purdue has to face.
Purdue has had wins over Wisconsin and the number 1 ranked team, Ohio State
. Purdue would have to put up the worst performance of their season in
order for the Peacocks to be struting.
Purdue Equals Two
Of course basketball is a team effort but the Boilermakers team is based around
two players, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore
. JaJuan Johnson has come to play
every single game. He's scored in double figures in every game this season. Not
one night did he take a game off. Johnson averages 20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds,
and 2.3 blocks on the season. In his last 4 games, he's averaged 11 rebounds
per game. Expect Johnson to have a monster game against St. Peter's. He's a
bigtime player playing against a smalltime team.
Guard E'Twan Moore is a multitalented basketball player. Moore averages 18.2
points, 3.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Moore can also shoot from behind
the arc at 41.1%. At 6 foot 4, 191 pounds, Moore is not afraid to get physical.
He also averages 5.1 rebounds per game and is consistent on a game by game
Purdue allows just 41.3% field goal and 32.8% from 3 point range. St Peter's
offense will have a difficult time in their long awaited return to the NCAA
Outcome of the Game
NCAA Basketball odds
boards have listed Purdue as the favorite by 14 points in this game. They're a far superior team that
plays a higher level of competition. St Peter's was lucky to make it to the big
dance. Defense is their only chance but they won't be able to stop Johnson and
Moore. Take Purdue and lay the 14 points at the sportsbooks
. This should be a blowout.